Chapter 11 : The Transformation
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Each time he drank the potion, the taste got progressively worse. James was most certain that Snape was doing something on purpose. It didn't exactly help his temper in the least. Still he bit his tongue and drank the potion, working hard not to grimace as he drank it down. He was not going to let Snape win this one. While he dreaded the delivery of the Wolfsbane, he lied through his teeth to Snape about it.
"Severus," he said with a smile, taking on a familiar tone with the man. He knew that it kind of grated the Potions master, and it was why he decided to take the given name up rather than calling him by his surname. "You know I've begun to look forward to our little meetings. After a time, one kind of gets rather used to the potion."
James took the goblet and gulped it down rather quickly. The quicker it was, the less time there was to grimace; that was his running theory, at least for as long as Snape decided to remain in the vicinity while he consumed the potion. It was consumed in quick succession, and James forced another smile onto his face.
"Very well. I shall leave you to your work. I would prefer not be around when the monster is unleashed."
James had picked his quill back up and started looking over the next student paper he needed to grade. He knew exactly what Snape was trying to get at and do. "No, wouldn't want to risk getting bit." The words again were out before he could stop them. While he hated the insinuation, still he refused to backtrack on them. He was going to be in control this night. Still, there was that off chance that things would not go right. It was why he had plans to put a few extra protective spells around the room to be sure that if things should go awry it would be safe.
"I have no qualms with having to put you down, Lupin," said Snape before he turned his back and stalked out of the room.
Once Snape was gone James dropped the quill that was in his hand and he rubbed his forehead. He was trying to be on his best behavior, and yet the threats he hated himself for making still left his mouth. This was not a curse tossed around lightly and yet he had. Snape just rubbed him the wrong way and he knew how to return the feelings.
As he sat there regretting his actions once again, he packed up the papers he was working on. He used his wand to send the papers back to his quarters where they would be safe, should something go amiss. He had a bit of time till he would be forced transform by the rising of the moon, but he knew that his focus was shot for the night. He turned his attention instead to preparing his office for the night. The protective spells were second nature to him and rolled through his mind without the need for too much focus and attention. With a sigh James packed his wand safely inside his desk drawer.
He surveyed the room to be sure that there was nothing of immense value that he needed to ensure the safety of before his transformation. While it was true that the potion should allow him to keep his mind, he did not wish to take any undue risks. As he looked around, he felt a pang of apprehension. What if things did not go correctly? What if there was a mistake with the potion, or he took too long to drink the first administration of it? His nerves were on edge as he waited, sensing the time as it drew ever closer to the rising of the moon. He could feel it in the pit of his stomach when he only had minutes to spare; he took the final steps to prepare for the moon which was to safely pack away his clothing. As he waited for the final minutes to pass, he focused on breathing, though it didn't help much in collecting his nerves as his stomach writhed. The pace of his breathing increased with each passing moment till finally at the panicle of the rising of the moon, everything seemed to almost freeze, as his body went ridge; his veins turned to fire. The hairs on his body stood on end before he finally doubled over in agony. While he had taken the potion, it made no promises about assuaging pain; it only spoke of him keeping his mind, which the truth of that was yet to be seen. James could feel as his bones morphed, they stretched in ways that bone was not meant to stretch and ground down in others to fit his new form.
Eventually, his voice broke from the torment. This was the very reason he had cast the Muffliato charm on his office. His yells of agony turned into a long single howl that filled the room. Panting, James stood on all fours taking in the sights and sounds as a wolf. He stood there perfectly still and waiting, waiting for the monster to be unleashed, the innate desire to rip, kill, and destroy. Yet nothing. It was too good to be true! He waited for a protracted amount of time to see whether things would change and still nothing.
He slowly looked around smelling the air. The subtle scents that had surrounded him before were no longer understated and the lighting in the room was more clear and precise. This was an entirely new experience for James as he tentatively paced around his office. In preparation for the worst, he hadn’t left himself much to occupy his time with. He concluded it was best to curl up and sleep through the night as much as he could. While he kept his mind, the actual transformation process occurred as it always had. He was certain that in the coming day he was still going to be in a world of pain and exhausted, though maybe just maybe less so if he slept through the night.
With a canine huff he walked over to his desk, figuring it might be better than the stone cold floor and jumped up atop of it. He could sleep there this night, but seeing as the potion allowed him to keep his mind intact, it wouldn’t be too bad if he kept a rug near the hearth for the coming moons of the year. Turning three times, as it didn't feel right to do any less, he curled up and closed his eyes.
Of course as the moon set, James awoke once more. He knew it was coming, and it was not going to be pleasant; becoming a wolf hurt just as much as returning to being a man. Honestly, in some ways returning to man form hurt more. He jumped down from his desk and waited, dreading the coming pain, but at the same time eager to be himself once more.
The pain over took him one last time. A howl escaped his lips, morphing into shouts of pain. While the change happened, he collapsed to the ground, tears streaming down his face, ones that he could not control. The agony seemed to be never ending; he had never been in his right mind for this part of the transformation. Relief did eventually come when he fell unconscious. After a certain threshold of pain, the human body as a defense simply shuts the mind down till it can adjust to the new levels.
Several hours later, James did finally come around. A groan escaped his lips as he lay there on the stone floor; he was stiff, cold and ached from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. The last thing he wanted to do was move, but at the same time it was what he needed to do. Still he lay there for he didn't know how long, the pain radiating from every pour of his body. Sleep was what he wanted most of all, but his pain was too much for that any more. That was the funny thing about pain; at one threshold the body shuts down, yet at another the body did not allow the mind to turn off.
James let out another groan as he forced himself to move. He cringed at every movement, head spinning; if things just got a little worse, he would black out, like a light. His actions were about as slow as they were painful as he eventually found his way into a seated position. Once there, he didn't move with his arms propped on knees and his head in his hands. He paused to breath for a moment or two despite the fact that the stone floor was cold as ice against his bare skin. He needed to keep the rug for next time, maybe even his wand. That is what he needed right now, his clothes and his wand.
Taking in a hissing breath, he braced for the onslaught of pain that was to come, and he moved again. James finally staggered to his feet. He fell against his desk with a groan as he relied on it for support and he moved around to the drawer that held his wand. Slowly he pulled the drawer open, and with some effort to concentrate, he summoned his robes out of the other drawer to him, taking comfort in the warmth they provided. Once clothed James found himself collapsing into his desk chair. There was another painful groan that escaped his lips as he sat there for a time.
He needed to get back to his quarters; he had medicine there that would help with the pain. He also had a warm soft place to sleep. It was more than he had dreamed of having for the past several years. Honestly he could tell despite the intense pain that he was already doing better than if he had gone through the moon without the potion. He had not a scratch on him. While he struggled, it had not been the same as it was after a regular moon, and so he made himself move again. All he needed to do was make it to his quarters. Fortunately there was an internal Floo network that he could take advantage of; otherwise he never would have made it back to his quarters.
Stumbling out of the hearth, James bumped into the table there and let out another groan as he leaned on it for a moment, before he conjured the potions he needed so he could find the rest his body much needed. Once the potions were downed, James just made it to his bed where he collapsed and was unconscious within minutes, the potions already taking the edge off the pain and inducing sleep at the same time. There in bed was where he remained, not moving a muscle till there was a gentle rapping on his door. Slowly he stirred in response to the knocking, pushing to get up. He was feeling much better than he was before and was surprised a bit. He opened the door to see that it was Minerva standing there was a tray of food.
“I figured you could do with a spot of something to eat.”
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